Real-Life Brand Names in Books

Hello dear readers, I hope this post finds you well.

I came across the idea for this week’s post a few months ago when I was listening to/reading a book for a book tour I was participating in.

If you’re interested in the review for it, you can read it here: Crossing in Time by D.L Orton

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This post is nothing against the author or the book Crossing in Time. I thought it was decently written, but it just happened to be the first time I heard real-world brand names used in a book before.

Often mentioning brand names is much more subtle. In movies we rarely get any mention of them, but we see them subtly as part of the story. In books, at least in my experience, we almost never get them.

I don’t often read books set in our world. Many of the books I read are fantasy, so they are set in made up worlds.

When I was reading crossing in time, Walmart was brought up and I actually stopped for a second. On one hand I thought it was brilliant because you did a page’s worth of explanation just by using the word Walmart because everyone can imagine what a Walmart looks like.

You could debate whether or not it is a lazy storytelling device, but that is an argument for another day. Personally I think it’s a touch of brilliance if it is used in the proper type of story.

On the other hand though, I actually had to stop reading for a minute because I did not like my reality being used in this story.

It felt weird and made my skin crawl.

I had never experienced it before, but I knew right away that I wouldn’t like it.

What is your opinion on real-world brand names being used in books. Is it a lazy storytelling device? Does it make your skin crawl? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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15 thoughts on “Real-Life Brand Names in Books

  1. This is such a unique idea, because frankly, I never even thought of it!! 😀 I guess it depends on the context of the story, although I don’t mind real brand names in a story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh for sure! Mentions of Advil, Walmart, and iPhones galore!! It makes the story more relatable, especially with realistic fiction 😉


  2. It depends. As I live in Europe and most of the books are set either in the US or UK I don’t see my local shops or brands used in the books. So it doesn’t disturb me. Sometimes I came across the names of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and would have loved if the author created its own social media. Because I don’t necessarily want to read about my world in a fiction book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh. I think mentioning real world social media platforms would be worse. I don’t like that idea at all. Take a few minutes to come up with something new, even if the name is a somewhat obvious reference to our platforms. Chirper is Twitter. Something like that

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Depends on the genre? Maybe…? I’m sure I’ve read a few RomComs with places like Starbucks mentioned. Interesting post thou and you are right by using Walmart the author can add a lot of detail in a very short sentence.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such an interesting post! I’m not personally a big fan of it in all honesty. I don’t really like contemporary books that reference other authors and literature either. I can see why authors do it, especially in YA contemporary as it makes the book more relatable, but for me I don’t think it’ll make the book age well if that makes sense? If the references are quite heavy then will the book be timeless because if someone reads it in the future those brands or books may not be still relevant, or they could even have some negative connotations attached to them! I much prefer when there are made up brands, books or authors. Sometimes with made up ones you can tell they’ve been influenced by a certain brand or company and I think that’s much better than actually referencing them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never thought about real books being referenced in other books, but for some reason I feel like I would be more okay with that than a grand.

      I do agree with you though that an author could come up with an alternative to real brand names, even if it is very obvious what he is referencing


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